2 September, 2007 It's a brave new world out there, and one can easily underestimate the skills required to make full use of the internet. Here's one example that's sure to illustrate the importance of basic internet trading savvy, and tickle your sense of schadenfreude - an eBay trader who leveraged the mistake of another to make himself a tidy US $500,000 profit, for a small amount of work.
The item in question is a bottle of Allsopp's Arctic Ale - brewed in 1852 for an expedition to the Arctic led by Sir Edward Belcher. The ale had the special qualities of a freezing point well below zero degrees, and antiscorbutic properties vital for the period.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The initial seller made a vital error - he misspelt the name of the brewery as Allsop's, rather than the correct Allsopp's. This meant that an eBay user executing a search for Allsopp's would not find the auction. One eBayer who recognized the value of the item managed to locate the auction - either by luck, or more likely, a tool such as Auction Intelligence which searches for common or obvious misspellings of words.
With the greatly diminished competition resulting from the inability for normal searches to find the item, his bid was only the second to be placed, and he subsequently won the auction for US $304. He then re-listed the item on eBay, this time with the correct spelling. The auction received 157 bids, and the winning bid was a whopping US $503,300.
The moral of the story is, if you have something of undisputed value such as a museum quality bottle of beer from 1852, you'd best quadruple-check your spelling before listing it on an auction site where you have no legal grounds to deny the sale to the winning bidder.
via A New Perception